Hansen's Northwest Native Plant Database

Populus trichocarpa (Black Cottonwood)



 Plantae Plants


 Tracheobionta Vascular plants


 Spermatophyta Seed plants


 Magnoliophyta Flowering plants


 Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons






 Salicaceae Willow family


 Populus L. cottonwood


 Populus balsamifera L. balsam poplar


 Populus balsamifera L. ssp. trichocarpa (Torr. & A. Gray ex Hook.) Brayshaw black cottonwood

This splendid poplar is the largest in America.

With an astonishing growth rate (up to 5'/year) it reaches 180.'

It is found in Europe and along the entire Pacific coast to the prairies, between USDA zones 5-10.

The bark is a dark gray and the 6" leaves are triangular, thick, and glossy.

Male and female catkins occur on separate trees and are followed by masses of cottony seeds.

Native groups used this tree extensively and the sticky, resinous buds, from which comes an intoxicating fragrance, are disinfectant and found in herbal products.

This tree attracts birds and butterflies and is helpful in wetland restoration as it takes up excess nitrogen and prevents erosion. Caution: the root system can interfere with septic beds.

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